Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
Towards a Value Based Education
An education which does not instill in the students, human values and develop in them the qualities of selflessness, absence of ego, unostentatiousness and true love is utterly worthless.
Students! Embodiments of Love! Teachers and Patrons of Education!
Education lends beauty to man. Education is man’s most precious wealth. It confers happiness and renown on man. It is the teacher of teachers. When a man travels abroad, education stands by him like a kinsman. Education is adored by rulers, not wealth. One without education is an animal.
Degrees alone do not signify education. Education that is confined to the physical sciences is a travesty of true education. Together with knowledge of the natural sciences, one has to acquire humility, discipline and a good character. Everyone should recognise this sacred character of education.
The student of today is concerned with acquiring wealth, strength and position, but not good qualities. Education is meant to enable one to acquire what are good qualities. Every student should take a note of this. Education is not intended merely to stuff the brain with information. It has to transform the heart and make it pure. This sacred truth has been forgotten.
Formidable problems have cropped up in educational institutions today. Educational institutions, which should serve to promote wholesome and progressive tendencies among the citizens, are going in the wrong way. The discipline that should prevail in them has deteriorated. The sacred feelings that should inspire educational establishments have disappeared. Reverence and respect are not to be seen. Money has been elevated to the primary place. This means that in institutions in which Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, should reign supreme, Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, has been installed. Knowledge that should be acquired by the heart is being garnered by money. This is a great threat to society. It is only when a student is filled with sacred thoughts that he will be able to serve society properly and make himself a better human being. The country will prosper only when those occupying the seats of power understand these problems properly.
President Venkataraman, in his Convocation address, explained in clear terms the implications of the five values of Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema and Ahimsa. These five terms are like the five life breaths for a man. Not only that. They are also the five basic elements (Panchabutas). Without these values, humanness will be destroyed. All other accomplishments are worthless without these values. For the mansion of Sanathana Dharma, these values are the walls supporting the edifice.
The student today has to cultivate in this Kali age nine gem like qualities: the spirit of sacrifice, humility, the spirit of selfless service to society, friendliness, discipline, adherence to truth, love, non-violence and faith in God. The boys and girls who have these qualities alone will be the nation’s treasure of virtue and ensure its future.
Dear students! Without these sacred qualities, all education is valueless. Does literacy or degree constitute education? Without wisdom and virtue can one be termed an educated person? True education is that which fosters the sense of oneness, draws out one’s divine qualities and promotes the blossoming of human personality. The eternal verities are being given the go by. Man is getting alienated from Nature. Good practices are giving place to bad habits. Education is reaching its nadir.
Matter and Energy
Man should be prepared to make any amount of effort in the pursuit of knowledge. Education today is concerned with worldly comforts, but it should seek to promote, in addition to worldly knowledge, concern for spiritual development. Education has two important characteristics. One is exposition of facts relating to any subject. The other is the unfoldment of the individual’s personality. The first is concerned with matter. The second is with energy. Education is a combination of the two. It is a combination of worldly and spiritual knowledge. Education cannot be confined to stuffing the head. It has to melt the heart, refine it and turn it Godward. It is not enough to make a man of the student. He has to be transformed into an ideal human being. He must be made compassionate. Every effort should be made to utilise education for the purpose of divinising man.
Four Hall Marks
Man should stand out as a seeker of truth. The student should practise the truths he has learnt and use them for the good of society. Citizens may be interested in students’ problems, but students should not get involved in the citizens’ politics. Students should aspire to promote the nation’s well-being, its security and happiness. Selflessness, absence of egoism, unostentatiousness and true love should be the hall marks of a true student. A student’s life should radiate light all around. “Vidya” means light. It is to make this illumination available to the world that students should pursue education. Students should desire to enjoy the bliss derived from education (Vidya) and not the pleasures of worldly objects (Vishaya). Students should aim at being masters of their senses and not their servants.
A man may be a great philosopher (Vedantin). He may explore many things. He may expound new theories. But he should really try to find out what he has accomplished as a human being. Without the cultivation of human values, all explorations and speculations are of no use.
Today the educational system, not only in India but in all countries, has taken the wrong turn. No single person is responsible for this situation. Parents have failed to bring up their children properly. The nation’s leaders do not set them a good example. Even teachers have failed in their responsibilities. When we have exemplary parents, exemplary leaders and ideal teachers, students will be ideal students. Students, who are selfless, pure hearted and innocent by nature, are being dragged into politics, their minds are getting filled with bitterness and hatred and their hearts are getting polluted. Students in no circumstance should get into politics. After completing your studies, if you take up a job or start a business, you may take to politics. In entering politics, you must do so to serve the nation and promote its welfare and integrity.
Students today lack the capacity to discriminate between right and wrong. The authorities feel that education is progressing in the country. There are more educational institutions and more students seem to be receiving education. But no one seems to bother whether they are really getting educated at all. Mere increase in the number of educational institutions is not enough. We must look at the quality of education. Standards have to be raised. There are many reasons for deterioration in educational standards. Only when education is treated as an autonomous and independent undertaking can the problem of standards be properly dealt with. Educational policies are changed with every change in the Education Ministry at the Centre or in the States (cheers). Frequent changes in educational policy are responsible for the fall in educational standards. Changes in the Ministry or the personnel at the top should not affect the core of education. It is essential to separate education and place it under the control of experienced and dedicated educationists. Without this basic change, whatever may be done to increase educational institutions is a waste of money.
What is the progress that has been achieved in education? Crores are being spent on education. What is the return for all this expenditure? There is a general decline in character and students have no respect for teachers; gratitude is at a discount. This is the “progress” that is witnessed today.
How can the nation progress? Everything depends on the young students of today. Education is not confined to school or college. It is a process that goes on all through one’s life. Students! Develop pure thoughts and see that you do not cause any difficulties to your fellow students. Strive to please your parents. Gratitude is the foremost quality in a student. Show your gratitude to your parents to whom you owe everything in your life.
Love the Motherland
Students! Human life is very precious and in it the days of youth are even more precious. Every student must cultivate humility and reverence. He must understand the state of the country. You must love the Motherland. Today there is a craze among students, whether they are engineers or doctors, to apply for jobs abroad as soon as they get their degrees. Serve your Motherland first. Earn honour and respect here. Take a pledge to serve your Motherland. Some people imagine that they can pursue their higher studies abroad. But what happens is that after going there, they forget even their parents. What is the use of such ungrateful persons going abroad? The students alone are not to blame for this. The Government is also responsible. The Government should realise that our students are being spoilt by being sent abroad and should restrict the number of passports issued to them (cheers). Are there not facilities for higher studies within India? Is there not enough science and technology here? The students claim that they are acquiring special knowledge. But all that they learn is pride and ostentation. Sri Rama declared: “The mother and the Motherland are greater than Heaven itself.” You must love your mother, whether she is beautiful or otherwise.
Students! Realise the greatness of Bharat. There is no need to disparage other countries. Only be prepared to sacrifice everything for your Motherland. Students today have no patriotic feelings. They only love themselves (their bodies). Deha (the body) and Desha (the country) are intimately related to each other. Recognise the unity of the two.
Greatness of Bharat
Realise at the outset the greatness of Bharatiya culture. It is an ideal to the world. It confers spiritual bliss (Atma Aanandam). Without recognising this, all your education is worth nothing. You are acquiring book knowledge, but are not putting into practice what you have learnt. It is most essential to practise unity in thought, word and deed which is the mark of all great people. Recognising the all-embracing character of Bharatiya culture which covers every aspect of life from the spiritual to the physical you have to live up to its message. Develop the spirit of love in your hearts.
Duty to the Alma Mater
Students! Wherever you may go remember your Institute and behave in a manner befitting its alumni. That is the gratitude you can show to the Institute. We do not ask from you anything. Our only desire is that you should become ideal students. Only then will your studies here be justified and you will be making your lives worthwhile. Eschew selfishness. Only the spirit of sacrifice can confer immortality. Help ever, hurt never.
There is something wrong with our system of examinations and promotions. An examinee is “passed” if he gets 30 percent marks in a subject. This is improper. If a man is entrusted with a hundred tasks and if he fails in 70 of them, is he to be recognised as having performed well? A few mistakes may be excused, but if one commits 70 mistakes, does he deserve to be passed? This is wrong. Even with regard to the 30 percent pass marks there appear to be various manipulations. All kinds of “grace marks” are given. Why, then, should the student study at all? It is because of such practices that educational institutions have lost all credibility. What can you make of students who “pass” in this manner? What kind of national leaders will they be? Hence it is essential to reform the examination system and raise educational standards and performance. There should be no room for compromises and relaxations in the educational field (cheers). Education is called “Shikshana”. This term means that there should be stern discipline at every stage. Students should be properly corrected and encouraged to study well. A teacher is one who teaches what is good and wholesome for the student. A real student is one who respects the teacher. In days of yore, the most pure and sacred relations existed between preceptors and pupils. Today, the talk is all about freedom. But freedom should be within limits. The end of wisdom is freedom. The end of culture is perfection. The end of education is character. The end of knowledge is Love. (cheers) Freedom today has degenerated into disrespect and irreverence with the result that students are getting conceited.
Dear students! I wish that you should go out into the world as ideal students and serve the nation well. Securing degrees is not enough. You have to make your knowledge available to others. This is the purpose of education. Remember God, love the nation and experience bliss. This should be your aim.
The President of India, Sri Venkataraman, addressed you today and spoke about the sages and saints of India. You must pay heed to the words of elders and try to live up to them to the extent you can. Eschew all differences of caste, creed and nationality and cultivate oneness of spirit. All are one: be alike to everyone. Realise the divinity within you and recognise that it is in one and all.
Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
Students, Parents and the Nation!
“Wealth is worshipped as God. Pride has become a creed. Selfishness is entrenched in the intellect. The ego is flaunted and desires have become an adornment. Righteousness has become, a mere figurehead in the world. Compassion has dried up. Gentility has waned. Hypocrisy has become the hall mark of life. Love and affection have become lustful afflictions. The scriptures are disregarded. Life has become a burden and man’s mind has gone astray. Gratitude as a virtue has evaporated. In the Kali age these have become the qualifications of educated persons. Alas! What shall I say about the plight of man when humanness has fallen so low?”
“When women leave their homes for jobs, where are the housewives to do the household chores? When both husband and wife go to their offices, where are the mothers to look after the children? When the mothers go to school to teach other children, who will teach their own children? Even if the monetary position is eased, other difficulties arise in the home. In trying to secure comforts, the office seeker achieves only an emptiness at home.”
Bharatiyas were wedded to Truth and were adherents of Righteousness. Justice was their sheet anchor only. Students should be broadminded and have a wider outlook to uphold Truth and Righteousness. You have to endeavour to adhere to the path of Satya and Dharma. If the students safeguard Truth and Righteasness they will be safe guarding the nation as well.
The world is based on Truth and Right Conduct. These two sustain the world. If they are protected, the world will be happy and prosperous. Victory will come in the wake of Truth and Righteousness. No other form of strength, including armed might, will ensure victory. Hence, students should consider themselves the guardians of Truth and Righteousness and equip themselves for this role.
Education is the formal expression of Truth, which is the basis of social harmony. The divine qualities of man can be seen in education as in a mirror. Today’s educational system makes the student hard hearted. He lacks the feelings of kindness and sympathy. Tolerance and compassion are totally absent. Those who should seek to serve the poor and the needy are wrapped up in their own selfish pursuits. Selfishness and self-centredness should be rooted out. Service to society should be regarded as the primary purpose of education.
Decline of moral values
Bharatiya culture is a sublime one. It is incomparably great. But the advance of modern technology has shaken the traditional institutions like a powerful cyclone. It is true that materially, scientifically and economically, great progress has been made. But morally, spiritually and socially man has fallen a great deal. Moral values have been shattered. In trying to make life more comfortable with the help of machines, men have become slaves of the machine. It is, therefore, incumbent on students to see that science and technology are used on the right lines for the good of mankind. Unfortunately, even those who profess to be leaders of society and who claim to be interested in promoting the well-being of the people, are not acting along the right lines to set a good example to the students.
Education, when it gets linked with egoism, loses its wider perspective. It becomes supremely purposeful only when it is related to spirituality. Hence students should rid themselves of egoism and strive to promote the welfare of society, through the knowledge acquired by them, with faith and Self-confidence.
Education is not mere verbal knowledge. It should enable one to manifest his inherent divinity. It should promote the practice of Truth and Right Conduct. Unfortunately, educational institutions today have become merely workshops manufacturing degree holders. The acquisition of degrees cannot constitute education. Education must promote ethical behaviour. It must foster self-control. This is the essential function of education.
If students are to conduct themselves properly, the parents have to set the right example. Unfortunately, even though many of the parents might be educated, wealthy and interested in Bharatiya culture, their practical conduct is not exemplary. This is the reason why most students go astray. All parents want their children to get a good education, good jobs and earn high incomes. But few of them want that they should grow into ideal citizens. In some instances, where the students have developed some spiritual interests, the parents try to discourage them. There are parents who behave like Hiranyakasipu and take their children to task for their interest in spiritual practices at such an early age. Nor is that all. Some of them even try to cover up the bad behaviour of their children by pretending that they are well behaved. They make no effort to correct the children and turn them towards the right path. Because of this attitude of the parents, the students are taking to bad ways and are spoilt like Dhritarashtra’s children (the Kauravas). The students are not to be blamed. It is the parents who are responsible for the students’ misbehaviour, which is reflected in indiscipline in educational institutions.
Students must be made to feel proud of their country, their people and their culture. They should realise that wealth and strength are of no value without character. Of what avail was all his wealth to Dhritarashtra? Because of the wickedness of his sons, he lost everything in the end.
Education today develops knowledge and skills but not character. Right education should promote good qualities. There is no need to seek a new system of education or effect reforms in society. It is enough if we have young men and women of good character and integrity. They will make the country great and prosperous.
Students! You have to realise the importance of mental transformation. All kinds of political and economic reforms are taking place. But little is being done to promote the sacred Bharatiya culture. What we need is a spiritual transformation. It is the absence of spirituality that accounts for all the chaos, conflict and disorder in the world.
Truth and righteousness
The Hindu tradition laid stress on two maxims: Speak the Truth. Follow Righteousness. These two vital principles have been obliterated today. Mammon reigns supreme. Wealth is worshipped as God. Malpractices are the offerings made to this deity. Humanness has been sacrificed. There must be a return to human values. Education must aim at promoting these values. Planting the seed of love and fostering the tree of tolerance, students should seek to offer the fruit of peace to society. This should be their primary duty.
Students! You do not become educated merely by getting degrees. You will be truly educated only when you render service to the people. Engage yourselves in service to the people. True education is that which equips one for service and not merely for earning wealth. Fill your hearts with compassion. A compassionate heart is the seat of the Divine.
Role of Sai Institutions
It is asked: who is to blame for the present state of education the students or the teachers? It must be remembered that today’s teachers were themselves students once. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s teachers. Hence students should train themselves properly for their future roles. It was with this object in view that the Sathya Sai educational institutions were started. Today’s students are the future nation builders. Only when the students learn to conduct themselves with integrity and fairness will they be able to restore the nation’s ancient values and cultural heritage. The ancients achieved name and fame by their adherence to values. Students in those days were exemplars of tolerance and compassion. They were wedded to Truth and Righteousness. Consequently, they lived long lives. Unfortunately, such sacred attitudes are not to be seen among students now. They have no trace of selflessness in them. They have installed conceit and ostentation at the altar of education. These traits are alien to true education and should be totally eradicated.
Humility and obedience, which are the insignia of the educated man, should be promoted. Students today are failing to show reverence even to their parents, much less to elders. To flaunt one’s degrees is not a sign of true education, but only an aberration. The truly educated person should cultivate the virtues of truth and righteous conduct and lead an ideal life in the service of society. Only such persons can contribute to the greatness and glory of Bharat.
Bharat stood as a beacon light to the world in ancient times because of its spiritual ideals. This sacred land is the land of sacrifice (Tyaga), of Yoga, and of Karma (Righteous action). Today’s education tends to make it a land of indulgence (bhogabhumi) with the result that all kinds of maladies (Roga) are present in educational institutions.
You must cultivate respect for Bharat’s ancient culture, follow its ideals and experience the joy to be derived therefrom. Society today suffers from lack of peace. Evil forces are rampant owing to the unchecked growth of selfishness and self-interest. These tendencies have to be rooted out. This can be done only by taking to the spiritual path. It is the duty of parents to sow the seeds of spirituality in the children from their early years. They should not think that parental responsibilities end with sending the children to school or college. They have a duty to see that the children grow into worthy citizens of the country. Great men like Sankaracharya, Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi became ideal men because of the example set by their parents in their daily lives. When the parents lead upright lives, the children will follow them. Hence, parents as well as teachers should serve as ideal examples to the students.
From all the enquiries I have made, I have found it is the parents who are spoiling the children. Their affection for the children is totally misconceived. They should realise that those good qualities which are instilled in the children when they are young, alone will stand them in good stead all their lives.
Dear embodiments of Love! Together with your studies, cultivate humility and reverence, and learn to conduct yourselves in an exemplary manner. Without morality, society will be ruined. Hence, by leading moral lives, foster the well-being of the nation. This is the sacrifice you have to perform. Do not lead a life of selfishness. Money comes and goes. Morality comes and grows. The path of righteousness may be strewn with obstacles. Do not bother about them. Act according to your conscience in all circumstances.
Dharmaraja and dharma
In the Mahabharata, there was an occasion during the time the Pandavas were living in exile, when Draupadi addressed Dharmaraja as follows: “Dharmaraja! There is no greater votary of Dharma than you. You adhered to Dharma as your life breath even in the smallest action. Inspite of this, you have had to go through inconceivable ordeals. How has your Dharma protected you?” Smilingly Dharmaraja replied: “Draupadi! Despite all the trials and tribulations I have gone through, I have not given up adherence to Dharma. That is my greatness. We should not succumb to difficulties and give up Dharma. Dharma should be upheld even during difficulties. That is the mark of greatness.”
Students! This life is not for experiencing happiness or sorrow. Both have their good and bad results. They are transient and impermanent. You should rise above them to uphold righteousness in service to society and serve as an example to the nation.
Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
Make Others Happy
Education is an ornament for man. It is his secret wealth. It confers prosperity and fame. It is the teacher of teachers. It is one’s unfailing kinsman in foreign travel. It secures the respect of rulers more than wealth.
Education is the basis for leading a purposeful life in the physical world, in the realm of the mind and in society. It equips one with the mental strength and steadiness to face the challenges of life. It enables one to understand the myriad manifestations in nature. It is only when one understands the powers of his mind that he can recognise the relationship between the world and society. Real education should enable one to realise that mankind is one family. It should help one to experience the unifying forces in society.
Unfortunately, education today is not promoting these objectives. We have no lack of intelligent men in the world today. There are any number of scientists. It is because the intelligentsia and the scientists have not been educated on right lines that the world is plunged in chaos and disorder. Education today is concerned mainly with satisfying the senses and developing intellectual skills. It ignores the development of virtuous qualities. Despite the committees and commissions set up by the Government to suggest reforms in education, no resolute efforts have been made to effect the necessary reforms. The main reason for this failure is the lack of unity after the achievement of freedom. All the ills the nation is suffering from are due to the absence of unity and the preoccupation with ephemeral objectives. There is nothing that cannot be achieved through unity.
Education should promote discrimination and humility. The quantitative explosion in the number of educational institutions—schools, colleges and universities—has been accompanied by a corresponding decline in the quality of education. To have no respect for your elders and to be ungrateful to those who have fostered you, to revile even the teacher who taught you, can this be called “progress” in education? There is little evidence of morality in society. There is a general decline in character and conduct. Bharatiya culture, which laid emphasis on plain living and high thinking, has been almost forgotten. Can there be anything more unfortunate for the country?
The culture of Bharat
India which achieved great heights in every cultural sphere, is today unaware of the magnitude of its greatness. Most students are not aware of even the meaning of culture. Culture refines the human spirit and makes one a complete human being. Today no attempt is made to understand the truth relating to the body, the mind and the Atma. Culture seeks to integrate the various aspects of daily life and develop a unified outlook.
It should enable one to transcend the divisions of caste, creed and community and realise the divine unity that underlies the apparent diversity. Students should realise that Indian culture is not meant only for India but is meant for all mankind to reveal to the world the path to the Divine.
Today one finds that the virtues exhibited by illiterate villagers and uneducated folk in the tribal areas are not to be seen among the educated urban population. In fact, wherever schools, courts and administrative offices have multiplied, there we witness an increase in corruption, injustice and wickedness. In seeking to lead a free and unrestrained life, people are falling a prey to the desires of their senses. Educational institutions, which should be havens of peace and serenity, are haunted by fears of insecurity. The true aim of education is to prepare the student for a useful role in society with the help of the knowledge he has got and for leading an ideal life.
Science and corruption
Science and technology have made great advances in recent years and have a prominent place in education. It is true that science has helped to improve the conditions of living. But the harm it is doing outweighs the benefits. Man has lost peace of mind and the sense of security. The growth of videos, radios, television, cinemas and air travel has been stupendous. But there is no sign of any growth in “Divine vision,” with the result that daily life is becoming more precarious. Morality and justice have declined. This must be ascribed mainly to the craze for acquiring modern scientific gadgets. Many middle-class people, who have moderate incomes, wish to acquire motor vehicles, TV sets and the like which they cannot afford to buy from their regular incomes. This leads to corruption and bribery. Even education has become expensive and far beyond the means of middle-class earners. In addition, there is the tendency to show off before others, to appear to be better off than one really is. This kind of ostentation is another cause for fall in moral standards among lawyers, doctors and other professional people. There is nothing wrong with science as such. It is the way it is used that produces bad consequences.
In the reform of the educational system, it is necessary to ensure that students learn about the right use of science. True education must enable one to realise the Self (Atma Jnana). Instead of emphasising this need, modern education creates many problems and difficulties for the students. Acquiring a small fragment of knowledge, a student gets inflated notions of himself. With this sort of conceit, he develops a contempt for Bharatiya culture. This is not what true education should aim at.
Education should be divorced from job hunting. Its primary purpose should be to enable the educated person to lead an honourable and meaningful life in society. If one cannot command respect in society, of what value is his education?
Education should make a man recognise his obligations to his parents and others who have made him what he is. Gratitude is a supreme virtue. If one cannot be grateful to his parents, his education is a waste.
Dear students! In the pursuit of your studies, you must place the interests of the nation above your personal interests. If you wish to maintain the greatness of Bharatiya culture, you should fully understand its sacredness and sublimity. Bharat’s prosperity will last only as long as its culture is preserved. Bharat will cease to be Bharat if its culture is lost. Consider this hoary culture as your life breath and as the blood flowing in your veins. The receiving of a degree is not the end of education. Your education will be worthwhile only when you lead exemplary lives in the service of society.
Duty of the educated
In ancient days high value was attached to education and the students led simple lives. Their clothes and their manners were dignified. Today such simplicity and dignity are not to be seen among students or teachers generally. Discipline is at a discount. More than ever it is essential for educated persons today to conduct themselves as men of honour and integrity and raise the moral level of society. Even in pursuing the spiritual path, the process should not be from Nature to Spirit but from Spirit to Nature. By seeking to master the forces of Nature through education, people tend to become subjects of nature. Live up to the Institute’s motto: “Sathyam vada; Dharmam chara” (“Speak the Truth; Be righteous”). These injunctions are not properly understood. Adhering to Truth means living up to transcendental Truth which is the eternal verity that is true for all time past, present and future. “Dharma” does not mean living as you please. The bonds of love that existed between the gurus and the disciples in the past do not exist today between students and teachers. The guru considered it his duty to teach the disciple what was most beneficial for the latter and the disciple loved to render service to the guru and carry out implicitly his commands. In those days, the students were few and they received intensive instruction. Today students are numerous and education is diluted. Far reaching reforms are needed in the educational system today. The future progress and welfare of the nation will depend upon how education is imparted. Students must be imbued with genuine patriotism. Starting with love and reverence for their parents, students should cultivate love and reverence for the Motherland. All your education must be a preparation for serving the nation.
Broaden your vision. Cultivate the spirit of love. Being endowed with the human form, you must strive to develop human values and not stray away from the path of righteousness. Fill your minds with sublime thoughts and your hearts with divine feelings. Consider the entire society as your home. Only then you will realise genuine unity with all. Redeem your lives by revering your parents, honouring your teachers and developing a loving faith in God. In this way you can lead dedicated lives in the spirit of the injunctions of the Upanishad. Be aware of the divinity that is inherent in every being. Thereby you will grow in your own self esteem. Fill your life with joy.
Be Happy; Be Happy
Make others Happy
All will be Happy
God will be Happy.
Faith in God has declined;
Reverence is at a discount;
Atheism is rampant;
Esteem for the Guru is gone;
Devotion has no place;
The age old culture is ignored;
Respect for the good has vanished;
This is our education today.
“Nahi jnanena sadrusam pavitramiha vidyathe” (In the world there is nothing as sacred as Jnana, the highest knowledge). There is nothing more precious in the world than true education. It reveals the Divinity that sustains the universe and promotes the welfare of mankind materially, mentally and socially. Only through education do we understand creation and the truth about humanity. Those who realise the nature of the Divine can know the relationship between Nature, society and the infinite potential of man. Instead of being subject to Nature, man can acquire, through education, the knowledge to utilise the forces of Nature. Thereby the highest Bliss (Sat Chit Ananda) can be experienced.
From Spirit to Nature
In the educational system today, the spiritual element has no place. This cannot be true education. Education must proceed primarily from the Spirit to Nature. It must show that mankind constitutes one Divine family. The divinity that is present in society can be experienced only through individuals. Education today, however, ends with the acquisition of degrees. Real education should enable one to utilise the knowledge one has acquired to meet the challenges of life and to make all human beings happy as far as possible. Born in society, one has the duty to work for the welfare and progress of society.
The knowledge gained from education is being misused today solely to obtain and enjoy creature comforts and sensuous pleasures. This education has served to develop some kind of intellectual abilities and technical skills, but has totally failed to develop good qualities. Society today is steeped in materialism because of the preoccupation with mundane pleasures.
Only in the Institute here can be witnessed the emphasis on the divinity inherent in man. In the old days, when the pupils completed their educational tenure in the ashram of the guru and were about to enter on the life of a Grihastha (householder), the preceptor gave them a parting message to serve them as guidelines for their worldly and spiritual good. That ceremony is observed today as a Convocation.
Education does not mean imparting of verbal knowledge. The knowledge that is gathered in schools and colleges should be capable of being used for service to society and helping to improve the conditions of one’s fellowmen. The place where true teachers and students are gathered should be filled with serene peace and orderliness. On the contrary, we find today that where students gather fear and insecurity prevail. Peace and order are not to be seen. This does not rebound to the credit of education. Students, whose hearts should be soft and compassionate, have become hard hearted and violent. Humility, reverence, compassion, forbearance, sacrifice, and sense control are the qualities which reveal the outcome of true education.
Science with Discrimination
Science and technology have made astonishing progress, but humanity is going on the downward path. There are undoubtedly many brilliant scholars and scientists in the world today. But science alone is not enough. There must be discrimination for utilising the discoveries of science for right purposes. Science without discrimination, human existence without discipline, friendship without gratitude, music without melody and a society without morality and justice, cannot be of benefit to the people.
Scientists and technologists are doing wonders today in the fields of synthetics, electronics, atomic energy and exploration of outer space. On the one side, we have this astounding progress in science. On the other side, we are witnessing political and economic chaos, national, racial and religious conflicts, provincialism and student unrest indicating the free play of divisive forces. How are we to account for this contradiction, scientific advancement on the one hand and deterioration in human behaviour on the other? The reason is that alongside the growth in knowledge, ignorance is also growing pari passu. What is the reason for the decline in human character and the growth of violence and hatred? There is a marked increase in bad qualities, evil actions and cruel traits among human beings compared to the past. If the reasons for this growth are examined, it will be found that it is due to the continued predominance of animal instincts in man. How else can we explain the fact that in 5000 years of recorded human history, there have been as many as 15,000 wars? Even now, men are not free from the fear of war. It is these wars that have progressively dehumanised mankind and eroded all regard for human values. The constant fear that at any moment one may lose his life in some conflict or other has an oppressive effect on the mind. This is mainly responsible for men losing the zest for living. It is not wars alone that are responsible for this. The general climate of conditions in which men live also contributes to fear and uncertainty. Men are becoming increasingly selfish and self-centred. How can such egocentric persons derive happiness from society or contribute to the happiness of society? There is a scramble even for buying tickets for a film show or getting into a bus. Immersed entirely in selfish concerns, men have no regard for the interests of others. Every step is governed by self-interest. In whatever he sees, says, or does, self-interest alone is dominant. This kind of selfishness should be totally eliminated among students.
Reasons for Failure
Increasing numbers of persons are seeking education, not for learning but for acquiring the means to gratify their desires. Education today has nothing sacred about it. The students have no steadiness of mind even for a moment. With this instability, how can they pursue studies with earnestness? The authorities also do not offer proper help or encouragement.
At the time when the country became free, there were 30 crores of illiterates. By 1983, this number had gone upto 44 crores. Iliteracy is increasing every day. By A.D. 2000 the number may grow to 50 crores. It is true that schools are on the increase and student enrolment has been going up considerably. But illiteracy is also increasing. Part of the reason for this is that large numbers of those who go to primary schools drop out after 2 or 3 years and lapse into illiteracy. There is no genuine urge for learning. Moreover, the financial provision for education, which was 7% of the Plan Outlay in the First Plan, had come down to 3.5% by the Sixth Plan. Many schools are not able to find money even for blackboards and chalk pieces. Even in the universities, the position of Vice chancellors is becoming difficult owing to non receipt of grants. As a result, teachers are getting frustrated and discontented.
Government and Education
Problems such as these are continually growing in the educational field. The reason for this is the dependence of educational institutions on the government. Once they are divorced from the government, the problems will be solved. In the past the Goddess of Learning (Saraswati) had no association with the powers that be. Today even Saraswati has been chained to the government. Consequently ,institutions have lost their freedom.
When a boy at school is asked today what he is doing, he answers: “I am buying education.” (“Chaduvukontunnanu”, in Telugu) instead of saying “I am learning”—”Chaduvukuntunnanu”. Thousands of rupees have to be paid for getting admission even to the primary classes. What is the benefit that can accrue to the world as a result of education received in this way? The students have no capacity to understand any of the problems of the contemporary world ‘economic, political, social, moral or other problems. The teachers in old times exhorted their pupils to speak the truth (“Sathyam Vada”). In today’s parlance, the exhortation is: “Sathyam Vudha” (“Destroy Truth”)! Education today does not impart to the students the capacity or grit to face the challenges of daily life. The educational field has become the playing ground of ignorance.
In this state of things, the students cannot be blamed. Students must be enabled to prepare themselves to serve society with pure minds. Today they do not have even a sense of gratitude towards their parents for all the sacrifices they make to educate their children. The students acquire degrees and they, go about begging for jobs. They should acquire rather the capacity to stand on their own legs and be self-reliant. They should, above all, develop good character. They should be able to take up any work and acquit themselves well. They should place love of the Motherland above everything else.
Rights and Duties
Men today are concerned solely about their rights and have no regard for their duties, obligations and responsibilities. Universities today have become factories for turning out degree holders and not real centres of knowledge. Education should serve to develop powers of discrimination and foster the sense of patriotism so that the educated may engage themselves in service to society.
Lacking in love for the Motherland, many today are hankering after foreign things. We should not have aversion to anything. But esteem for things national is essential. Appreciation and regard for one’s own country and its achievements is a sacred duty (Dharma). It is not the mark of good education if one forgets one’s own country and goes after the exotic.
Degrees Not Enough
Students! It is not enough if you acquire degrees. Along with them you should acquire general knowledge and common sense. There is a wide gap between your learning and our culture. Scholarship without culture is valueless. Both have to go together.
The Taitiriya Upanishad exhorts the student to look upon one’s father, mother, teacher and guest as God. Students today have little respect for parent, or God. They lack even confidence in themselves. How can those who have no Self-confidence get Self-satisfaction?
Education should not be merely for earning a living. It should enable one to lead an exemplary life. The right teacher is one who is an embodiment of love and teaches the student to love all, to cultivate right relationships, and to develop human qualities. Teachers who will promote qualities of mutual love and regard in their students are sorely needed today.
We do not need today a new faith or creed, nor a new system of education. Nor need we create a new society. All we need are men and women who have pure and loving hearts. Their hearts must be filled with sacred feelings. The transformation has to be affected in the minds of people. The mind should be brought under the control of the intelligence (Buddhi) and not allowed to go after its whims and fancies.
You must become ideal citizens. Revere elders and show respect to everyone. Lead exemplary lives. Eschew selfishness and self-interest. Identify yourselves with the well-being of society and dedicate yourselves to social service. Students must develop such noble ideals. They must show their gratitude to those who have helped them. You must realise also that ignorance is preferable to knowledge that is not put to right use. As the proverb says: A docile donkey on which you can ride safely is preferable to a wild, uncontrollable horse.
All degrees, scholarship and punditry have no value if one does not have good qualities. Cultivate virtues. Today good qualities (“gunamulu” in Telugu) are forgotten and only good dress (“guddalu” in Telugu) is being flaunted. When one wears white clothes, the heart must also be pure white. The Upanishad declares, “Narayana pervades everything inside and outside.” You wear spotless clothes, but the heart inside is filled with bad qualities. You have, to transform yourselves into men of virtue. You have to do right actions for cultivating good qualities.
People talk about morality (Neethi). Morality simply means right conduct. Without good behaviour there can be no morality.
Morality and Service
Your moral life in society must express itself in service to the suffering and the helpless. The devotion and understanding that are implicit in selfless service cannot be found in any other thing. You may not get a job, but engage yourself in social service. Bear in mind the inspiring example of Abu ben Adam, who loved to serve his fellowmen and thereby earned the grace and love of God.
You are well aware of the deplorable state of the nation. In this situation, remembrance of the name of the Lord should be your main support. Have firm faith in God. An animal which had full faith in God became Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Siva. A monkey by the constant repetition of Sri Rama’s name became the adorable Hanuman. Prahlada, the scion of the Asura clan, became divine by his unconquerable faith in God. If such transformations can take place, why should not men become truly human? The fault lies in the perverted thinking of human beings and not in the divinity that is inherent in them.
Sanctify your lives by making every act of daily living holy and purposeful. Students should dedicate themselves to the revival of Bharat’s hallowed culture and to the service of the Motherland. You must uphold the good name of the Institute wherever you are. Revere you parents and make them happy.
My dear students!
You are flowers in God’s garden,
You are the stars in God’s sky,
You must love flowers and stars,
You are wonderful beings in God’s world.
You must possess the head of Sankaracharya,
You must possess the heart of Buddha,
You must possess the hands of Janaka Maharaja,
Then you are a perfect man!
The Fourfold Exhortation
Students, Teachers, Persons interested and involved in Education!
Education has to make a person the concrete embodiment of the higher Reality, that is the basis of the material universe, of life in the world, of the expanding dominions of the mind, and of the human community. He is the mirror which reflects the Divinity inherent in man, evident in every expression of his Character. The process of education has to inspire man to discover the Truth seeking it through the study of the objective world. Fulfillment lies in the awareness of that Truth which, when once known, does not need correction or modification or revision. Education aims at this consummation in a life lived in the atmosphere of unity, devoid of the varied demands of diversity. The educated person knows the inter relation between what appears as distinct.
Education must reveal the path which enables man to tap the dormant spring of divinity within, without getting entangled with the mass of created objects. It has to lay stress on spiritual transformation as more fundamental than even moral uplift. The real sign of an educated person is his attitude of sameness towards all. He sees in society the manifestation of divinity. Education does not lead man from nature to the all-pervading Atma. It leads man to study nature, with the unifying Atmic outlook. When the powers of Nature are harnessed to narrow selfishness, they recoil on him as plagues. When they are revered as revelations of the Atma, they become beneficial. Education equips man with this insight. The process by which man forgoes his freedom and is bound in the net of desire can never be education. It has to aim at ensuring peace and stability in each country by continuous precept and practice of the basic unity.
After acquiring this sacred vision and inspiration, Brahmacharis moved into the next stage of life, into society for founding and fostering families. The occasion was marked by a Convocation where they were provided with holy guidelines and reminded of their duties. When the young are at the Gurukul, with fellow students and teachers, engaged in study, one had to strive ceaselessly to cultivate serenity, purity and detachment, and try to identify their truth. For, the sage of studentship (Brahmacharya) sets the pace and decides the fate of three subsequent stages of householder, recluse and monk.
Students! When you lag behind and fail to achieve success in study and the practice of ideals, your mothers are steeped in agony. The motherland, Bharatmata, too suffers the same agony a thousand times more, when you lag behind in acquiring moral and spiritual excellence. Students have the responsibility to save both mother and mother land from the agony and to confer Ananda instead. He alone can be considered a real student, who has realised this obligation.
Every one of the leaders and elders you know, administrators and officers, in political and other fields has been, while young, students like you. You have to take their roles later. Do not ignore this fact. You have to help the progress of the motherland by work among fellow citizens with sincere effort and patient example.
What is the meaning of the expression “human progress”? It means raising the level of moral life and brightening daily lives with goodness and godliness. Life has to be an incessant process of repair and reconstruction, of discarding evil and developing goodness. Paddy grains have to discard the husk in order to become consumable rice. Cotton has to be reformed as yarn to become wearable cloth. Even gold nuggets have to undergo the crucible and get rid of alloys. Man too must purify his instincts, impulses, passions, emotions and desires so that he can progress in good thoughts, deeds and words. The individual is valued only on the basis of the level of transformation he has attained. But, today, the rulers have no capacity to transform the people, nor have the people the urge to transform the rulers. The absence of spiritual vision is the cause for this situation. So, efforts must be directed now to cultivate that vision among students who will be forming the citizens and rulers of tomorrow. Students of today must be encouraged to follow disciplined and devoted habits of thinking and living.
Students form the foundation of a nation; they are the roots that hold it firm. Their moral stamina ensures a home of peace and an era of joy and happiness. Science and technology have expanded vastly today. Their gifts have made life more comfortable and pleasant. But they have brought with them grief and fear, loss and calamity in far greater degree. More than all, they have bred domination and concentration of authority. The reason is absence of proper discrimination while accepting and utilising these gifts. This is the age of a novel civilisation. The emergence of discordant notes has silenced the call of the divine from within man. He is eager to make his life a merry go round but it is turning into a painful tangle of troubles. He does not try to discover the cause of this contradiction. Instead, he wastes his years in empty ephemeral pomp and pretence. He is unaware of the value of each passing day. He is caught in the coils of speed and splash films, planes, radio, video, television etc. He is restless and has to encounter countless worries. Fear of imminent war or famine has gripped man. Fear, while alone at home, fear while on the street! When insecurity prevails, how can man be happy?
The basic reason for this pathetic situation is the spending spree for satisfying sensual desires. To get his child admitted, a middle-class employee pays thousands of rupees to the school. He pays lakhs of rupees to secure a seat in a professional college for his son or daughter. He competes with his neighbours in the purchase of gadgets which they parade, with the help of loans or corrupt practices. Technology ruins step by step the character of men. The son secures an LL.B. involving the sacrifice by his parents of their income. He gets no job. So, he decides on a career as lawyer. He has to own a car, though hungry and poor.
Thus, truth, justice and morality have eroded everywhere and in every field. Man is no more human. Students! I exhort you to recognise this tragic situation and dedicate yourselves to the task of promoting the happiness and welfare of the people, and presenting shining examples of truth, sincerity and integrity. Give up the notion that you are undergoing education in order to grab jobs. Convince yourselves that you are earning knowledge leading to wisdom, in order to serve others all your lives.
The advice given by gurus during Convocations in hermitages is the same.” Mother and Motherland are more worthy of reverence than Heaven. Your parents are sacrificing their comforts and even necessities in order to ensure your progress. It is your duty to revere them and make them happy. Engage yourselves in acts that others will respect and not in acts of which you feel ashamed. Honour the elders. Love your native land.” After receiving such directions from the Gurus, students returned home, with hearts heavy with gratitude and sorrow at the departure from the hermitages. The Convocation marked the close of a sweet chapter in life when true ideals, to be pursued in later years, were implanted. So the leave-taking was fraught with humility and hope. They realised then that life involves both coming together and separation from each other. They engraved in their hearts in golden letters the advice imparted to them on the occasion of departure.
But today, in the very same land, Convocations are polluted by noisy interruptions, disgusting behaviour and demonstrations of disbelief. Man has become so stupid that he has neither fear of sin nor love for God. How then can he be secure in peace and escape from catastrophe? These two are two eyes of mankind. without them, man has to totter in darkness, however learned and scholarly he may be. Where can we find students with compassion in their hearts, spreading peace all around, straight and true in behaviour, righteous and virtuous? Individuals who have illumined their innate good nature with such holy qualities and who are eager to be helpful to others are not visible, to the eye. So, you have to acquire and develop the practice of Truth, Righteousness and Serenity.
Do not crave to acquire cultures foreign to ours. We have a treasure of gold in our Bharat. Why seek it outside? The culture of Bharat is sublime, splendorous, sacred, and divine. It can fulfill all your high desires, quench your deepest thirst.
I am on the search, I am on the search,
For one who ever clings to the moral path,
Can cotton tree ever mango be?
Can any cane claim sugar within?
Can pebbles that shine ever candy become?
Let not form deceive; see the nature and judge.
So, students have to cultivate character. That is what I am searching for.
Students! You must be aware of the implications of studentship. You have to translate that awareness into actual practice. You have to enshrine the experience in your hearts. You must, then, share the joy of that experience with others. Do not allow your minds to get agitated with limitless desires.
First, render your homes bright by pleasing your parents. If you cause grief to them your entire life will be soaked in grief and your children, in turn, are sure to sink you in sorrow. Do not be arrogant towards your parents because you have studied a few things. “Consider the Mother as God; consider the Father as God; consider the Teacher as God; consider the Guest as God.” Follow this fourfold exhortation with full faith in its validity, derive Ananda there from and inspire others by your example, so that the Motherland may progress and prosper. Fulfill this desire of mine, with my blessings.
In the world today, the type of education given and the kinds of skills imparted may make a person clever and knowledgeable but all these have no value if the rare qualities of character formation are not developed in our institutions. Education without character leads to innumerable wants and desires and converts a hero into a zero. Even if a fraction of what one learns is imbibed and practised in thought, word and action then it would make a complete change in man.
It is Truth (Sathya) which is the mansion of God. One who leads a life based on Sathya is truly an ideal person. His life indeed is a true life. This Sathya is Universal and of paramount importance. This transcends limitations of time, space and country. Manu, the greatest sage went deep into this concept of Sathya, experienced it himself and then handed down its benefits to the human race. “Utter the Truth. Do not utter untruth” This is the essence of his experience and teaching.
The idea that one’s education is only getting a job is a narrow view. On the other hand, education should prepare one for life and not merely for a living. A person who understands this supreme Truth and acts accordingly does indeed live a worthy life. The sages, who have been like stars in the firmament of this great land, experienced this vital truth of Sathya and they in turn have passed on the essence of their experience. Education does not connote only scholarship and getting to know the contents of a book. Man in spite of inadequate knowledge, when compared to the supreme universal knowledge, tends to become arrogant. Only true education brings about humility and a transformation of heart. The first and foremost task for man is to understand the value of education. Only when you recognise the truth that there is something beyond entities of the material world, you would have understood what true education is. In other words, it is not Physics only that you will have to go in for, rather it is Metaphysics as well that you must seek out. We have people who try to understand this deep significance, this underlying link. We had in ancient days wise sages in this country like Vasista, Vamana, Jamadagni, Viswamitra, Parasara, Gautama and others.
We are assailed by the lurking doubt, “Do we have such sages in our midst today?” We have gained something in terms of Science and Technology. Even as you have to further the cause of science, you should also understand as to how to make use of this scientific knowledge. We do have the growth of science but we do not have the necessary discrimination to use these advances properly. That is why the world at large is beset with problems. However, even in these days of great advances in modern science, there are undoubtedly some great men who have understood the basic synthesis between modern science on the one hand and spirituality and ancient wisdom on the other. Newton was one of the first who gave an interpretation regarding the force of gravity. But, he also had the wisdom to know that the force of attraction was present all along. In fact, he went on to say that he had discovered this idea of gravity but had not created it. He also had the firm conviction that there was a supreme hand behind this. Einstein was yet another towering figure who delved deep into the mysteries of Nature and found in the end that there is the principle of spirituality deep within all that exists. He further understood that if we wish to make the best of this knowledge, we need to have the company of good men, because it is only then that your mind and heart could be cleansed and purified. It was in this context that he said, “Tell me your company, I shall tell you what you are”. What becomes clear from this simple statement is that the type of company we live in is a reflection of our own nature. Then we have yet another great personality. Werner Heisenberg contributed a great deal to modern scientific thought. He too wanted to know the essential link between science on the one hand and spirituality on the other. It was in this context that he understood the vital link between the two as found in Yogasastra. He summed up his experience in this manner: “Master the mind and become a mastermind” He maintained the essential synthesis between science and spirituality and in fact felt that spirituality is the basis of science. He also understood that by increasing one’s wants and desires, one tends to lose one’s innate calm Therefore, “More desire is more despair.” Paul Dirac sought to find the harmony between science and spirituality. He tried to discover the one entity underlying all living beings in all forms and conducted experiments for this purpose. As a result of this pursuit he found the truth to consist in the statement- “Love ever, hurt never”- This conclusion is nothing but an echo of what the ancient sage Vyasa had given to mankind as the quintessence of all the Puranas that “to help others is meritorious, to hurt others is sinful”. Then we have another modern thinker, Louis victor de Broglie. Having begun as a critic of the whole concept of spirituality, after serious enquiry, he came to the conclusion that his doubts were due to his ignorance. He proclaimed from his experiences that divinity was at the core of everything in the Universe.
Therefore, even in these days of modern science, we find such rishis and seekers of truth. Going back to ancient times, the sapta rishis were those who gave us the wisdom. Now the presentday sapta rishes are people like Newton, Einstein and others who have given us the fundamental truth that God alone first created this world and the qualities that are associated with the world.
Vyasa cognised the truth that the world is made of Spandana or vibrations. That view is largely reflected in today’s theoretical science. Here is an episode from Mahabharata. Subhadra was pregnant. And Arjuna was describing Padma Vyuha, an intricate type of military formation, to Subhadra. Krishna intervened and said, “Oh brother-in-law, are you thinking that it is Subhadra who is listening to your words. Now it is the child in the womb who is listening to your words”. In ancient days, it was customary for the parents to encourage their pregnant daughters to relate spiritual literature and stories about heroes and saints and entertain noble thoughts so that the child in the womb may be influenced by the vibrations produced by such sublime thoughts in the mother. The ancient rishis knew this truth. Moreover, many ceremonies like seemantham were performed to keep pregnant women in a happy frame of mind in the interest of the child. This was the reason why the children of those days used to grow up to be good and noble. But in today’s world, parents seek for their entertainments in the medium of the T.V. or the cinema most of which is crude and unedifying. Naturally, children are born with such tendencies.
And down the ages and for a long time there have been a number of critics who were skeptical about the validity of this specific observation of Lord Krishna. But today the scene has changed. People now acknowledge that what was said in those days is true. In the U.S.A. at the “Institute of Child Health and Human Development” attached to the Carolina University, Anthony Cooper undertook research to find out the truth of the above ancient theory and after experimentation he confirmed the truth contained in the fundamental observations of Lord Krishna. It was proved beyond doubt that the child just born had the wonderful capacity to respond to what the mother was saying.
What is valuable in this world is certainly not our position, education or learning but our conduct and behaviour based on spiritual values. Conduct and behaviour determine the type of result that we get. Our conduct has to be patterned on noble and lofty ideals. We should broaden our vision and outlook. We should give up all that is narrow and petty-minded. True education is love and nothing but love. Without love, life is not worth living.
The fundamental basis of our life is Sathya. What is the use of mastering so many skills? Along with your studies you should also transform yourselves. Respect elders. Love your parents. Trust your friends. Like the breathing process which is continuous, trust and faith should always be with us. It was this trust and faith which was emphasised in the past; but today’s system of education is purely examination oriented. The result is that the students enter the examination hall; they pour out all that is contained in their minds and come out empty headed. Enrichment of heart should become part and parcel of our educational system. Only then can we find supreme sense of fulfillment and perfect harmony between thought, word and deed. Only such a person can bring credit to the country. When he comes to the fore, there will be peace and prosperity and happiness all around the world.
Today, everyone talks about peace, but does something quite contradictory. While we go on piling bombs, we go on talking about peace all the while. We may have undoubtedly reached the moon, but still we have not experienced the state of peace.
There is also environmental pollution. Today we have polluted the atmosphere around the earth. Not content with this, we are trying to pollute the outer space as well. So how can we get the peace we are aspiring for. There is nothing to be gained by harming others. Whatever little is given to us, we should try to use it for the benefit of others.
Embodiments of Love! While you may not have developed the capacity to do any positive good to people around, you should at least not harm anyone. Not doing any harm is the greatest quality which you should develop. While we have expanded education, it has not improved character. If you have the quality of love within you, you can secure anything for yourself and others. What is the reason for lakhs of people assembling here without any invitation? The simple reason is love of and for SAI. Educating one to develop the quality of love is most important. You may have secured post graduate and doctorate degrees and possess untold wealth, secured name and fame, blessed with a long and fruitful life, performed japa, dyana or attained the mastery of Vedas. But these cannot be compared to the love of Sathya Sai in any manner. Go in for education which develops in all its purity. It is love alone which can safeguard this world. Devoid of love, the world could be destroyed. So, if in this world there is to be peace and prosperity, joy and happiness all around, love is essential. The development of a nation, does not depend on the industrial growth alone. The person who has the well-being of the nation and of the world at heart, should go in for the kind of education which develops qualities like purity of mind and heart and morality. It is character and morality alone which can take the world forward.
Students, teachers and all those who have the cause of education dear to their hearts: I earnestly wish that our system of education should be so perfected that there is enough room for developing moral values and qualities of love, righteous conduct, peace, truth and non-violence. Only such a system of education can take this country forward and regain its past glory and contribute significantly to international brotherhood and universal Peace.
In the days of yore there were those outstanding personalities and skilled figures, the rishis and sages who could communicate the quintessence of the Vedas and the texts and bring home the cherished lessons embodied therein to the pupils. They were not only highly accomplished teachers but at their command even a lifeless entity such as a stone would spring to life and acquire the skills which were being given, skills of varying dimensions and varying descriptions. Today too there are these outstanding personalities, men of high accomplishments and achievements, who could make others transcend their limitations and lead them from the front. But what is the use, if the pupils of today do not respond and reach out to the cries and the need of the situations?
Listen to this, O students!
After passing through this “gurukul” stage and being on the threshold of entering into the household stage there are these people to whom you have to listen, for they are your well-wishers who look towards your peace and prosperity. Education does not mean getting the know-how of the alphabet. What is learnt has to be practised and shown in your daily life thereby sanctifying your life, and you must try to understand the inner purpose of life. Education, you should understand, has as its corner stone the guiding principle whereby you could remove yourself from sorrow and difficulties and move on to a higher path. If you have to communicate an idea in the medium of words there is this word ‘Samhita’ which goes on to show that the choice of words for communication should be clear cut, and precise such that the ideas contained are got. This word Samhita is also called Sandhi. In this educational fields there are four types of Samhita. They are: (i) Loka Samhita, (ii) Aloka Samhita, (iii) Vijnana Samhita, (iv) Praja Samhita. One pertains to the world, the second that is called Aloka, the third pertaining to science and the fourth pertaining to the people.
What you have beneath you is the earth. You have the world of the stars above you. That which brings these two together is the wind, and after bringing together thus, that which takes the form is the sky. Earth is one which is at the beginning, and these stars come at the second place. But then there is a force of attraction between the earth and the world of the stars. We could say that the earth is attracting the stars above or the nether worlds below. So, that which has got a greater capacity to attract and wield its course is what attracts the second body. Between the earth and the nether worlds there are seven types of winds.
The first is called Navaha,
the second is called Pravaha,
the third is called Anuvaham,
the fourth is called Samham,
the fifth is called Vivaham,
the sixth is Pravaham,
the seventh is Praviham.
The first lesson given to students is that it is these categories of winds which link the earth below to the stars above. By seeing the stars and the clouds it is said that the sky goes into ecstasy and she basks in the rays of the Sun. The first lesson contained in the Sikshavalli is that there is link between earth and the stars. The second is called Aloka Samhita. This is also called Jyoti Samhita. Below you, you have fire. Above you, you have the Sun. The link between the fire and the Sun is water, and in this light of the Sun you have the lightning. The fire and the earth, and this lightning streaks emanating from the Sun, there again is a link between the two. Thereby you have water. One who gets to know the nature of this water would certainly understand the nature of the world around us. It also says that one who has grasped this water would have grasped the world itself. So, the second lesson is that there is this link between the fire and the sun and that is how the human existence also comes into being. In the vedas we have references to the fact that the moon in linked to the mind and the heart, and the Sun is linked to the eyes.
The third Sainhita is called Vignana Samhita. Here the guru is the first entity. The pupil is called Uttara. There is this link, the relationship between the guru and the Sishya, because the pupil and the teacher come together and what emanates is Vidya. It also proves that for a human being it is not merely the worldly skills that are important, rather it is the knowledge of the Atma that is truly important. It also cautions that in addition to the worldly knowledge, what is of paramount importance is the spiritual knowledge. It also tells us that through this process of education an individual could transform himself or herself into a lighthouse so as to dispel the darkness around him or her. With limitless desires, with meaningless anxiety, trying to seek that which cannot be sought, these words would verily become the beacon for the lost soul. These are, “Speak the truth”, “Tread the path of Dharma, without any fault or shortcoming try to further your understanding”. There should not be any carelessness in accumulating knowledge. Stop doing evil. Try and do that which you can talk about. You have to lead a disciplined life and you are bound by the conduct upheld by the Society. While in the household stage, in tune with your capabilities, act charitably. Be obedient and humble before elders. In the execution of a task or in the discharging of your duties and responsibilities you should move about without any carelessness or laxity. It also tells us that these are the sacred injunctions students should always bear in mind for transforming themselves into divine entities. But unfortunately, such thoughts and ideas are nowhere to be traced in the minds and hearts of students of today. A student should never think that studying is merely for the sake of getting a job. He should understand the truth that this education is meant to give him knowledge supreme. Today’s education renders the educated into a selfish person. It makes him a slave to his senses. As a result, he forgets the divine spark within him, and the education of today is leading to such troubles and chaotic conditions all around. Today’s educated person does not come forward to assist the grief-stricken and those who are suffering. He forgets the fact that he is born in the society and is very much its part and parcel. He tries to lead a life in isolation like a drop of oil over the surface of water.
Today the educated man has no room for broad mindedness. He becomes petty and narrow minded. He should also understand that this is not what marks out an educated person.
Even after 37 years of Independence, there is still the attitude of a slave in every Indian. The advances made in science and technology are not being put to use for the betterment of people at large nor are we trying to find out how best we can tap the resources in terms of scientific and technological developments. The educated people are trying to take a distorted view of the advances made in science and technology for destructive purposes. But then this is not the fault of the students alone. The Government has not come forward to encourage the students to go on constructive ways. Neither has it made any effort whatsoever to fill the hearts and minds of young students with noble and lofty ideals. In the educational institutions of today you don’t have ways and means by which a student is trained to face the challenges which the world throws against him. He is educated, he has got a certificate; but he is still a slave, he has not cared to rid himself of his bondage. Freedom does not connote moving about aimlessly like the animals in the street. Fill your time with good cause taking path of truth. A life led thus is led thus is indeed a life of fulfilment. Understand this once again. Education is not merely for the sake of degrees. This is a mistaken notion. The man of today goes out of his way to secure his rights; but he does not bother about what his duties and responsibilities are. When you want your rights but don’t want to discharge your responsibilities you lose the rights given to you. The rights on the one hand and the duties and responsibilities on the other are inseparably linked with each other.
Then there is the element of love that has to be taken into account. Love and law, these again go together. Today’s man looks upon love as one of the guiding principles but he forgets the fact that the law also has to give as to how best you can tap and use your love. In the spiritual domain too those who are believers keep aspiring for peace and joy and happiness, but they do not know how to go about these. You don’t need God. You don’t think that you need have devotion. But then you want that God should confer on you peace, joy and happiness. God is not such a blind person. God is one who is more well versed than you. You go to a shop; you want to buy a thing. In order to get the thing, you have to pay some price from your side. Only then you can get the thing. In the same manner if you want to secure for yourself this commodity called peace, there is something that you should give. So if you want to secure santi or peace, then try to lead a life which is in tune with this aspiration. Taking to ways which are bad and following the path of adharma, how can you get santi, peace or happiness? This is merely a vain wish. How can one who eats a mango get the flavour of another fruit? The fruit will be in tune with your karma. In terms of your thoughts, God would grace you. So let your ideals be high and noble.
Let your actions be in tune with dharma. Only then you can get the right to understand the inner significance of educational philosophy. In today’s educational philosophy, there is no place for trust and humaneness. The bee is said to have a very pointed nose. It is said that it can go through a hard obstacle it can make its way through a hard object like a piece of wood. But the same bee, once it gets into a lotus and the lotus petals fold up, then it cannot extricate itself. It becomes forgetful of its stings and loses its life. In the same manner, man has become forgetful of his divine power within him. As a result, he succumbs to the difficulties, troubles and agitations, in the process, disintegrating and collapsing. Today’s student should strive and bring to fore the qualities within him. He believes the novels. He goes by the drama. He goes by the newspaper. He goes by what the man in the street has to say. But he does not believe in God. He does not go by what God has to say. This could be classified as very unfortunate. One accomplished person says “Today is Sunday” The student goes by these words and tries to experience leisure and relaxation. A pundit who says “Today is Ekadasi”; You can by that word undertake fasting. So also, in terms of what a Vedantin says “Today is Amavasya”, you go about performing the day in a proper manner. But then you do not go by this word, this injunction given to you that “Oh Child, you are really Brahman”. The educated person does not place trust in words like these which bring home to him his divine nature. Rather he goes by what the world has to offer in terms of his mechanical existence.
At the very outset, educated persons should understand the truth that this education is not for the sake of filling their stomach. In the Ramayana, we have an illustration of a very interesting person. Through this character, the Ramayana brings home to us a lesson. Who is this person? This person is Kabanda. His form is very peculiar. His head is in the stomach. There is an inner significance to this. It means that man is using his head for the purpose of his stomach. His hands and limbs are very long and powerful. By means of these long hands of his, he used to secure within his grasp whatever he could reach and ate it. What is the inner meaning of this? He is not utilising them for the sake of others in the society around him, for the betterment of his fellow beings or for being of use to others. So, if you understand in today’s context, you will find that our behaviour or mannerism is in tune with Kabanda’s so much so that we are brothers of Kabanda. But then we are not Kabandas. We are related to God. With this divine nature that is ours, with this relationship that we have with the divine, we should try and become self-sufficient and self-reliant. Just as you have the streak of lightning across the dark clouds, so also alongside education, you must have the streak of Jnana. Today we pride ourselves that we are educated; but, no trace of education is to be found. So if you really want yourselves to be qualified to be called educated, then let your life be one where everything is good and noble. When you see people suffering, go and help them. This is the Truth.
Today’s education has become mechanical. There is no place for skill. There is no place for creativity. How can we know the uniqueness of the significance of education? Education means effulgence and splendour. The nature of this effulgence is that it dispels the darkness around you. We are blind because we are deliberately closing our eyes. We have established educational institutions to impart an ideal education to students of today and to mould them into citizens of tomorrow. There are many who tend to believe that our students are proficient only in doing bhajans, worship or taking up the spiritual path. But this is a mistaken notion. Our students are trained in every aspect of their existence the physical, ethical, moral, political, intellectual, scientific, spiritual and the like, and we can also add to these fields, music, literature, dance. drama and all the arts Fine Arts. A true illustration of the accomplishments of our students is the pots filled to the brim, that do not spill out the liquid. They remain steady. This outward appearance is mistaken as a sign of weakness. Our students do not exhibit what they have. Our students are sure that ego has no place in their existence. One who wants this exhibitionism is the one who wants to go after everything in this material world. Of course, in a handful of cooked rice, you may have a pebble or two. It could be true of our students also. We should not take this to be the general nature of our students. So, our students are embodiments of high ideals. Knowingly or unknowingly they might commit some faults and mistakes. But once they know what they must do, they would certainly uphold the truth proper. Our educational institution is making an endeavour to have thousands of these students spread themselves to all the parts of the world in a few years. The uppermost thing for the students is that they should further this moral aspect of ours. Today, morals and ethics are at a low count. In today’s educational system, there should be classes set apart for moral and spiritual education.
Today’s educational system aims at giving a degree to the students. As a result, the number of the unemployed increases. In every educational institution, there should be a job orientation and if this be given, a student would be encouraged and enthused to assimilate all that is given to him. But what they learn is not giving them a job. Nor are the students themselves interested in job-oriented education.
That is why the life of students is being frittered away like this. We should not waste any time of the student. In our educational system here, right from 5AM in the morning to 10PM in the night, students have something or other to do. There are marks assigned for everyone of their activity. In this manner, facilities are provided so that they are not to waste their time on any account. In this process, they are learning more and more. Time is everything. Time wasted is life wasted. Do not waste time. In these three sentences is contained their activities from morning till night. But in the general scheme of things, students go to the colleges without knowing why they go there. Not only do they stop learning things, but they develop an interest in the material world around them. Such people can they be called students? After entering as students, they are becoming people craving for material things. This is not a true trait of education.
In ancient India, after students have done their studies and are on the threshold of entering the life of a house holder, the gurus address an assembly of students so that they could impart to them the best ways and means of carrying out these duties. The purpose of the Convocation is to equip the students with their beacons, the guiding stars. The words of the gurus are verily the beacons. This is the true purpose of a convocation. But in today’s world a convocation has become a place of agitations and unruly behaviour and these in turn lead to a life which has no meaning at all.
Today’s students are the builders of tomorrow. But they have lost track of their purpose and they are indulging in destructive activities. What is the cause for this? Who is responsible for this? If you look deeper into this, you will realise that the parents are responsible for this. They may have love all right. It is natural for the father to love his son. But, even this love has a certain constraint. Dhritharashtra loved his children. A son who goes astray should be controlled and cautioned by the parents. Along with love, he should also have a means to punish him. The elephant should have the goad, then only will it listen to the master. The horse should similarly have the reins so that you could hold the horse. So, along with what is laid down, there should also be a means of punishment. Only then, the two can go together, But, no parent of today is making an effort in this direction. They are all the while carried away by love towards their children. Along with love they should insist on the conduct. The children may not know but the parents should tell the children what they should do. The parents say things like: “I have left my son to himself for whatever he wants to do”. This is a cowardly act. Tomorrow if he goes astray and brings disrepute to the family and the parents, who will be responsible for this? So, we should try to mould the child so that he brings up the name and fame of the family. The name and reputation is important. “What is in a name?” you might say. We say that if the city has got a good name the citizens are good. If you are good the town itself gets a good name. How do you get a good name? through your behaviour. It is not mere intellectual excellence but your qualities that are truly important. So, try to further these qualities, not your wealth or money. Money is also necessary. In addition, you need good quality. A chariot without its two wheels cannot move. A bird which has not two wings cannot fly. So, you should have money and good qualities. These two go together. Our primary task is to foster these good qualities.
When you go out into the world you should not become slaves like everybody else. Now you are trying to imitate what the other man is doing. You do not understand the truth that imitation is a sign of weakness. So long as you are in the Sathya Sai Educational Institutions, being filled with good behaviour and good words you remain good. But once you go out into the world you go about a changing process. You grow long hair, grow mustache and a beard and you are like a beggar. Does not a cockroach have this mustache or a rat its whiskers? What is the use of your calling yourself a man? Such weaknesses should be given up. What we are, should be shown, in what we do. You get carried away by your education or your money. These are not yardsticks of your greatness. Your behaviour is the yardstick for your greatness. So, students who are embodiments of love, even if you go to the world, what you learnt here, the good and the noble ideals, try to put them into practice in the world outside. Believe that this is the true Vidya that you must have.
In the sacred assembly of the Convocation whatever you have heard, whatever has been given to you in the form of injunction, let them be the very life breath of you. Try to become ideal models to the world outside, by translating this message in your daily life there.
Chivalry of speech has increased;
Chivalry of deed has disappeared;
Life is laden with false vanities;
This is the life the student leads today.
Money has become our God;
Pride has become our creed;
Selfishness sits supreme in Buddhi’s seat;
Egotism has become our fashion:;
Greed has become our beauty;
Dharma has come to naught;
Compassion has sunk low;
Moral fervour is lost;
Hypocrisy has become the light of our life;
Love and kindness lie sick and diseased;
Modern education has blinded men with lust;
Life has become a burden;
Minds have gone astray.
Delay no more for delay is disastrous,
Fuse morality with education in sweet harmony,
And see what happens.
What is education? What kind of education should we seek? what is the true measure of education? What kind of education fosters the well-being of humanity at large? What good has the current system of education done? He indeed is the wise one who focuses his attention on these five aspects of learning and obtains the right insight into the true nature of education.
Mere interpretation of the meanings of words does not constitute education. Education is that which throws wide open the doors of the mind that men of learning should first experience within themselves the sublime beauty and splendour of education, and then they should impart it to others.
Students strain themselves hard to acquire degrees. But they must strain harder to acquire noble qualities. The value of an individual depends on the measure of purification that he brings about in himself. It is by giving up bad habits and by cultivating good ones in their place, that one purifies oneself. Education should enable a person to nurture proper virtues in himself.
Education without purification of one’s personality is like a kite whose twine has snapped. No one knows for certain where such a kite falls on a bush or a brier. Education without refinement of character is like a rudderless boat no one knows where it will take us! Education bereft of purity of character is like a dungeon where no light streams in and where only beasts of Kama, Krodha, etc., live. The student who has not achieved purity of character suffers from raga (attachment) and dwesha (hatred) and will make a wreck of himself. Education devoid of character is like a coin which has lost its currency. Even a beggar doesn’t condescend to accept such a counterfeit coin! Even parents do not love their own children if they reek with vices. It is not the acquisition of education that matters much. What is most essential is the cultivation of samskaras along with your education. Vidya is not mere accumulation of knowledge. Vidya should be transformed into dedicated dynamic action.
People today mistake science for education and nourish the wrong notion that there is nothing more powerful than science. It is dynamic action which is more powerful than the knowledge of science” Knowledge without wisdom, action devoid of discretion, scholarship sans sagacity, life without prudence, music minus melody, speech not based on truth, friendship bereft of loyalty, society not marked by discipline and education without humility do not earn the admiration of men. Education should sanctify the heart of man and lead him along the sweet avenues of life. But the education imparted today hardens the heart of man and makes him a bond slave to his senses.
Students should gaze back at the glory of education in ancient times. There is a world of difference between the ancient System of education and the modern one. Education has slid from its lofty heights of the past. Students in the past distinguished themselves in all disciplines of knowledge scientific, economic and spiritual. They faithfully pursued the path laid down by the Smriti and the Sruti and rose to eminent heights of glory. On the contrary the students of today have descended down to the depths of degradation, in all disciplines of life.
People who glibly lisp pious words of peace do secretly encourage deeds of violence and unrest. Such self-deluding people have increased in numbers by leaps and bounds. Cruelty has come to the fore as a consequence. It is these people who destroy the peace of the world by encouraging unrest and violence.
We do not see today even the slightest signs of sacrifice, good conduct and honesty. We are human beings only in form and appearance. We are students only in dress and style. Even the men of learning are determined to destroy the very foundations of Dharma. such attempts by these men will spell destruction not only to Dharma but the very social organism.
‘Dharayati iti dharmah’ Dharma is that which holds and sustains. As burning is the nature of fire, fragrance, of a full blossomed rose, sweetness, of sugar, so is truthfulness of man. Dharma is that which enables us to live as a human among humans without ever losing the glory of humanness. It is the decline of truthfulness that causes the decline and downfall of humanness. Students shourd firmly resolve to go to the rescue, when Dharma is in danger.
Students are the sons and daughters of this effulgent Bharat. This country is the cradle of courage, valour, chivalry and prosperity. The students of today are born to the glorious lineage of great Rishis, as Vasishta, Vamana, Jamadagni, Parashara, Bharadwaja, Gautama and others, who shook the three worlds by the power of their penance. The descendants of such illustrious Rishis have given themselves to a state of supine complacence when Dharma is berated by others. It is not meet on the part of the sons of Bharat to give themselves to such torpor. Students should leap to the defense of their motherland even at the cost of their own lives, when she is being treacherously betrayed.
Today the so called educationists talk loud and long that there is no God and even if He is, there is no place for him in their hearts. How ludicrous is their talk! How low is their intelligence! God is the embodiment of Truth. These people who argue that there is no God indeed indirectly confess that there is no place for Truth in themselves, for God is Truth. God is verily the Sun of wisdom. These people by denying the existence of God deny the presence of wisdom in them. As strange buds grow on the trunks of trees before they decay, similarly strange thoughts spring from the minds of these people. These men sin by lending voice to such wicked thoughts. Denying the existence of God is like saying that one has tongue but cannot speak. It is as foolish as saying “My mother is barren.” The one who denies the existence of Atma denies his own existence. Only those blind of atmic knowledge cause such controversies.
Students should come to know the right kind of knowledge and see that it is translated into the activities of their daily life. We should bring about reforms in the current system of education.
Modern education has waxed high,
Atmic knowledge has waned low,
Sathya and Dharma are extinguished forever.
The education that we acquire today does not help us to understand concepts like Sathya and Dharma. Mankind should develop the feeling of oneness of humanity and they should endeavour to live as members of one society.
A serious study of the present educational system reveals that it creates ignoramuses on an enormous scale. Twenty one thousand five hundred students worked on various thesis and obtained their doctorate degrees between 1975-80. Their research work by no means contributed to the welfare of the world.
There are scientists who toil hours together in the laboratories without doing any good either to society or to themselves. They at best succeed in wasting their energy and time. The U.G.C. expends crores of rupees on research. It is no greatness to expend huge amounts of money; real greatness lies in spending huge amounts usefully.
Sir Charles Carton was the Chairman of the Committee which made a detailed enquiry into the research work undertaken in different disciplines of knowledge. He found that the benefits that accrued out of research were meagre. He felt sad that the research work which many undertake is a wasteful activity involving wastage of time, work and energy.
There are those who have toiled and earned their doctorates with hardly any capacity to communicate to others the findings of their research. Hence due effort should be made at the post graduate level to develop in the students the skills of teaching. Many have received their Ph.Ds without ever obtaining any skill in the art of teaching. At least once or twice a week, students should be given training in the cultivation of teaching skills.
There is a widespread thinking on the part of our students that the end of education is gainful employment and possession of wealth. These cannot be the true end of education. Students enroll themselves in the Employment Exchange Office, make many visits to it and some of them even commit suicide out of despair. This is not the right attitude for a student.
Students with sound financial resources should launch self-reliance schemes like small scale industries and thereby remedy the unemployment problem by providing employment to the poor and the helpless But if these students with sound financial resources gain employment for themselves by exercising their influence, they will be inflicting incalculable harm on the poor and the helpless, who cannot compete with the rich for securing jobs.
It should be the earnest endeavour of every student to lend work to every hand; to irrigate every field; to light lamps in every house; and transform every home into a factory. Then alone the present educational system will be able to add grace and distinction to itself. Students of today should renounce selfishness, give up pride and arrogance and illumine their lives with humility.
We scarcely find either vitality or skill in the present educational set up. Education without humility is no education. So, students should cultivate the attitude of obedience to elders, devotion to God and unflinching faith in Dharma. They should nourish within themselves the belief that the strength that springs from Dharma, morality and spirituality is real strength.
Students of today are mercurial in their temperament and flit from mood to mood They greet you with a ‘hello’ in one moment and bid you farewell in the very next, leaving you in the lurch. How can vidya reside in the hearts of these men who have no constancy of mind and in whom raga and dwesha have reached their very zenith? What is the cause of all this? The Government which grants a considerable measure of freedom to our students is responsible for the violence in the campus. It is the unions and federations sanctioned by the Government that trigger chaos in the campus.
What is a Union? Living as one is union. The Union has the ultimate objective of remaining a friend to a man through thick and thin, pain and pleasure. Unity is seeing the one in many. But the students of today divide the one into many, instead of fusing the many into one. The Government has sanctioned elections at all levels, ranging from the primary school to University colleges utterly oblivious to the atrocities committed in the name of elections. First and foremost, the U.G.C. and the Government should suspend the elections and instead of holding elections for the selection of a leader, the best all-rounder amongst the students should be chosen as the leader. Elections fill the students with hatred for one another. It doesn’t stop with them, but descends down on the fresh batches of students that enter the portals of an institution. Love and affection should be fostered in the students; the feeling of oneness has to be instilled in them; and the feeling of fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man has to be nurtured. Love will start welling up the day we suspend the elections in our institutions.
There are people who advocate ragging in the name of cultivating friendship and fearlessness. This foul practice is being increasingly encouraged in the name of friendship. But creating horror in the students and forcing them to end their lives is not a mark of friendship. It is due to sanctioning of these small measures of freedom that education has fled and agitation has set in.
It is not the fault of the students that they indulge in agitation We must bring about due changes in the code of discipline that we have laid down for our students and grant them only that measure of freedom they deserve. No good accrues without discipline. Discipline should mark every aspect of our life.
Today we have unions of all kinds; students union, teachers union, workers union, etc. We have unions but there is no unity. Teachers hate fellow teachers; students hate fellow students; men hate fellow men. All reek with hatred. The heart is not filled with love. It is the absence of compassion, righteousness and devotion that causes this lovelessness.
Compassion is a superlative virtue. A heart without compassion can never become a temple of God. It is through Prema that we should seek to promote the feeling of humanness. Vidya filled with love alone can enable us to employ knowledge in the service of our fellow men.
We see today proliferation of various disciplines of study. The proliferation of subjects for study unhinges our brains. The education imparted in ancient Gurukuls was of exemplary excellence. Even a subject like mathematics was learnt by heart and formulae were tenaciously retained in the mind. Students of today do not know that 4+3+3 add up to 10 (Ten). The master and the memsahib press the buttons of the calculator even to total the cost of vegetables they purchase. The human brain rests idly while calculators and computers do brisk calculation for them. We can use calculators and computers when the need arises but we should rely on our brain instead of pressing the computer and the calculator to action for every silly thing. The power of our faculties decreases if our dependence on computers and calculators increases.
The knowledge that we obtain in the present educational system is more extensive than intensive. We learn too many things but our knowledge of these things is too shallow. It is the mark of right education to know few things intensively and deeply. Learn a few subjects but learn them well instead of learning many without mastering even one. lt is thoroughness that lends strength to our knowledge.
Let us cultivate common sense and general knowledge which are essential in our day to day life. We scarcely find even the slightest trace of these two in our educational system. Students earn ranks in their examinations but in practical life they earn zeros. Which of these two is more important? success in the examinations or success in daily life? We should in fact take these two aspects as the two wings of a bird or as the two wheels of a chariot. We must blend education and life in one sweet harmony.
Inconstancy rules the minds of our students today. They never remain steadily even for a second. Of what avail is their education which does not develop this virtue of steadiness of mind in our students? Students waver and vacillate and do things according to their whim and fancy. Students should cultivate awareness, for awareness is life. We must lend expression to our awareness in all walks of life.
We nowadays give credence to intelligence, discounting the importance of character. Character should keep pace with the advancement of intelligence. The development of intelligence without a corresponding development of character is an exercise in futility.
Students! we should make an earnest enquiry into the true nature of Vidya. What is Vidya? What kind of Vidya should we acquire? What are its distinctive marks? What kind of Vidya brings about the wellbeing of humanity? What benefits has the Vidya of today bestowed? We become true students if we grasp these five aspects of Vidya. Mere mastery of subjects and scoring high ranks do not make a real student.
Do reading and writing make a student?
Does securing degrees make a student?
Can education without wisdom become education at all?
If education is for living, do not birds and beasts live?
Education is not for a mere living. Birds and beasts also live. Education which does not bring about unity of mankind is futile. Students! we should first cultivate the virtue of gratitude. We must reason within ourselves well; who are the ones who have enabled us to reach the present status? Your mother is your first Guru; your father is your second Guru and your teacher is your third Guru. Hence, we have the prayer;
God is the embodiment of all these three. Today we show no gratitude to our parents, who have given birth to us. We show no gratitude to our guru, who has nurtured our mind and intelligence. And to God we are least grateful. Life without gratitude is sheer cruelty devoid of all feelings of humanness. It is gross ingratitude on our part to throw into the fire the very boat that has steered us through the waters of the stream. We don’t know where and when and who will be of help to us. Even little things can be of great value in life. So we must not belittle anyone in this world. We must show lifelong gratitude to the parents who have given their blood and bone to us, and the teachers who have taught us.
Children should shape themselves into ideal human beings. The places where students meet should exude peace and joy and the very Nature should delight in their presence. But today the rendezvous of students turns gory and Nature is deprived of all charm and delight. Students of today destroy peace and joy and endanger safety and security. Such behaviour on the part of students is not in consonance with the ideals of education. The students who ought to be leading and guiding and fostering fellow human beings, on the contrary, inflict untold misery on them.
Students should resolve to protect and foster every act, art and organisation, that are related to life. In spite of strains and stresses, undaunted, students should strive to defend our dharma and our institutions, spread abroad the science of spirituality, foster wisdom and ultimately obtain the vision divine.
Students should ask themselves, before launching any action, whether their action is beneficial in any way to their brethren.
Science has made rapid strides in modern times. It has brought us atomic bombs. It examines everything with analytical intensity which encourages only divisive tendency. This tumbler in my hand is made of many atoms. It is the gathering of the atoms in a particular harmony which has created the tumbler. If we start separating its atoms, we won’t have the tumbler at all.
Our expenditure on the atomic research far exceeds the production that we obtain therefrom. Students should spend less, produce more and avoid wasteful extravagance. You will be causing immense harm to society by spending lakhs of rupees on scientific research for advancing your own self-interest.
We should practise simple living and high thinking. Unfortunately, students of today practise high living and simple thinking. Your parents miss two square meals a day to put you through schooling whereas you regardless of their sacrifice walk up and down, trim and tidy, without caring to lend a helping hand to them.
Students! Time is precious. Waters of a river and the youth of a young man can never be restored once they are lost. This period of your life is your golden age. Do not waste these sacred years but sanctify them by doing noble deeds. Plunge into the service of society and extend help to your fellow men. Do not turn yourself into a beast by harbouring selfishness. Cheer up saying to yourself “How soon the day will come when I finish my studies and serve my fellow men in the society.
Don’t waste time by participating in strikes which are triggered off for every silly reason. Do not use your time, wealth and energy in pursuit of shallow purposes. Try honestly to resolve your problems by approaching with peace and humility the concerned authorities. If on the contrary you adopt an attitude of unrest and violence, you will never succeed in seeking solutions to your problems.
There is a good deal of truth in the adage, “A washerman is much better than an educated person”. You know pretty well how intelligent a washerman is. The washerman who collects the clothes of four hundred boys in a hostel makes a mental note of the clothes given by all the boys for wash without ever using a note book, whereas you who pride on your intelligence have to use a note book and waste a lot of pen, paper and ink, though you have to give him for wash a pair of shirts, a pair of pants and a hankey. Along with intelligence develop your character. Your passing B.A., B.Com., and M.A. examinations should not inflate you with pride. The marks of true education are:” Good qualities, good thoughts, truthfulness, devotion, discipline and dedication to duty. Vidya is that which teaches these. And these the students should learn.
We should employ our education in the service of society. We should use it for the realisation of ‘Soharn Tatva’ instead of idling away our time. Do not live for yourself. Live in society and dedicate yourself to it. Shape yourselves as the sons and daughters of Saraswati and strive sincerely to realise the sanctity of goddess Saraswati. Let the students of our University shape themselves into ideal men and women and resolve to impart true and lofty education to the children of Bharat.
We see fear wherever we set our eyes upon. There is unrest and agitation everywhere. We are not sure that a boy who has gone to school and a person who has gone to market will ever return.
Facilities for higher education have immensely increased. But there is a corresponding increase of fear, burden and responsibility as well. Students should determine to prove that they form the backbone of the nation and they are the harbingers of security and safety.
The alumni of Sathya Sai University, wherever they go, should leave behind them an abiding impression of serenity and sanctity. It is ludicrous if you throw to the winds the discipline that you so religiously observe here as soon as you leave the portals of your alma mater. Only ignorant fools act that way. Don’t degrade your degrees by acting in such ludicrous fashion. A time should come when people will know by your humility and obedience that you are the alumni of the Sathya Sai institutions. Become street lights as soon as you leave this place. And donot turn into street dogs. It is in order to instill in you this spirit of humility and righteousness that our Vice-Chancellor has administered the oath of promise from the Shikshavalli of the Taittiriya Upanishad.
You are all well aware of your Vice-Chancellor Dr. Gokak. It is the Diamond Jubilee year for him for he is 75 years old. This is the age at which he ought to have been leading a life of rest, mentally and physically. It is because of his high sense of devotion that he has accepted the Vice-Chancellorship of our University and is toiling day and night for its sake. The clerks work during the scheduled hours i.e. from 10 AM to 4 PM and go home after the scheduled time but not so Dr. Gokak, for he works day and night. He is striving hard to realise the truth that service is God. Many of you may not even know that he does not accept any remuneration for all the work that he does as a Vice-Chancellor. He deems it his great good fortune to serve this Institute. He takes great pains of travelling often to Delhi on matters relating to the Institute. He is administering the University with great discipline.
Allasani Peddana, the poet Laureate in the court of Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire, on the occasion of wearing the golden bracelets that the king gifted him with, said, “I do not prize these decorations (Bhushanas) high. I esteem the Bhushana of God’s grace most.” Our Gokak earned the title Padrnabhushan. For Gokak who is like the lotus (Padma) the grace of God is indeed a bhushana (decoration). Titles like Padmabhushan are no bhushanas (decorations) to Gokak, as the only bhushana that he esteems most is the bhushana of Daivanugraha (God’s grace). He does vigorous sadhana to merit God’s grace. Members of the Trust (Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust) have entrusted me with the responsibility of adorning him with Daivanugraha Bhushana.
Sri Krishna wore three Kankanas (resolves)
The first Kankana that he wore is :
Sambhavami Yuge Yuge
(I incarnate myself from age to age to protect the gentle, destroy the wicked and establish righteousness)
The second Kankana that he wore is :
Yoga kshemam vahamyaham
(I take care of those who have surrendered themselves to me completely, utterly oblivious to all)
The third Kankana that he wore is :
(Do not feel sad for I will surely liberate you)
Even the Lord descends down to the earth wearing these Kankanas (bracelets of resolve). Our Gokak puts on two Kankanas; the first, is the resolve to place before society a set of dedicated students and the second Kankana that he wears is the resolve to merit God’s grace. The sincere service that Dr. Gokak renders gives immense satisfaction to Swami.
Fully realising the capacity of Gokak, the U.G.C. appointed him for a period of three years as the Vice-Chancellor of this Institute as a special case. Our lnstitute is a tender babe of two years. It requires great alertness and responsibility to guard this child against disease and danger.
As Lakshmana to Rama, our Registrar Chakravarthi works hand-in-hand with the Vice-chancellor. The members of the staff are full of harmony and adjustment and the students are indeed gold! It must be spoken that it is our great good fortune to have such students, staff, controller, registrar and vice-chancellor. They are devoted workers and are much dedicated to God.
Sathya Sai Central Trust through Me will now adorn Gokak with the bracelets of God’s grace. The felicitations extended to Dr. Gokak should not be misconstrued as an exhibition and a show of satisfaction. These are felicitations of Prema. Dr. Gokak did not know till this moment about this. Right now Swami is adorning Gokak with this Prema Kankana and Anugraha Kankana, the bracelets of love and the bracelet of God’s Grace.
Make it an ideal University
Students! Embodiments of Divine Love! Educators! Promoters of Education!
When we fall low in education or in knowledge, our parents feel great grief. When we fall low in morals and spiritual virtues, our motherland bemoans her fate ten times more sadly. We have to assuage the grief of the physical mother and the cultural mother and promote the peace and prosperity of the nation. Students alone have the enthusiasm and the skill necessary for this task. In this land revered as the treasure house of spiritual riches, Dharma is declining day by day, unrighteousness, injustice, violence, antisocial acts, and falsehood are running amok. They are indulging in their devil dance unhindered. In this Kali era, students have to rise up as lion cubs, reestablish peace and restore Dharma in individual, social and national life.
Students! Remember that all those whom we are accepting now as leaders, whom we respect as holding positions of authority, whom we worship as elders, were some years ago students like yourselves. Therefore, you in your turn will be the leaders, power wielders and elders of tomorrow. Do not forget this destiny of yours.
The motherland is not a mere lump of earth. When we desire its progress, we have to promote the progress of the people who dwell therein. The skills needed for resuscitating and reforming man are found only in students. The reforming process involves the removal, in daily living, of bad conduct and bad habits and the practice of good conduct and good deeds. A man’s worth can be measured by his efforts to reform himself. This day, the Government has no authority to reform the subjects and subjects have no authority to reform the Government.
Students are the very foundation of the nation. When the foundation is strong, the building can be stable. To make the foundation strong, the people, the government, the parents, the teachers, and the students all have to coordinate their plans and efforts. These five elements, these five vital forces, have to work together towards this end.
The solution for the problem is just one: the light of Truth has to be fostered and spread in the field of education. Students are proceeding along devious distorted paths, not because they are intrinsically bad but because they are influenced by the evils rampant in all fields, social and national. The nation cannot advance through reform of the educational system alone.
The educational process is basically a holy endeavour. We have many lessons to learn, many duties to fulfill, many points to note while trying to improve it. In ancient times, moral excellence was the goal of this endeavour. Gaining that excellence even today, students must roam, in the realm of education, free and fearless like lions in the forest. They should not degrade themselves to the level of the cunning, deceitful, marauding jackals or wolves. Today, there are no lions in the jungles of educational institutions, but only wolves and sheep. Acquaintance with the contents of a pile of books does not make one an educated person. Wherever there are students the place must shine with the brilliance of peace and security; it must radiate the aura of sanctity. But have we peace and security in the campuses today? No. Real education must be judged by the concern for others which it promotes. Students should be the guardians of the people. As the prospective protectors of the people, their future leaders and administrators, they should prepare themselves for national service. On the shoulders of the students of today rests the task of making India great. The educational system has to be shaped anew so that students can fulfill the task of brightening the future of this land.
Embodiments of Love! Every man desires to acquire Ananda. Wherefrom can Ananda be acquired? Faith alone can win Ananda. Peace can be got only through faith; faith is the spring of joy. But, now, we see sorrow wherever we cast our eyes. Why does this happen? Because, man has lost faith. He has no faith in himself. How then can he acquire Ananda? How can a person, who has not got faith enough to live happily for four days, win the grace of God? This day, when education has achieved remarkable progress in many directions, man has lost faith in the highest and the supremest—God. He queries, “What exactly is God?” He argues, “Is there God?” Well. I shall prove that God is.
Seek the Truth; you are seeking God. Truth is God. Truth exists; so, too, God exists. God does, because Truth is God. Does anyone argue that there is no Truth? Come. I shall show him Truth. He who denies the existence of Truth can never be a man. Can there be a God higher than Truth?
The human condition today is full of falsehood; it is sunk in wickedness. So, no one can understand the significance of Truth. Truth is generally understood to mean speaking out exactly what has been heard by the ears. No, this is not the meaning of Truth. What has been heard undergoes change; Truth is changeless, it is the same in the past, present and future. Have faith that Truth exists thus and can be experienced. Faith is the very breath of life. Without it, man is a living corpse.
Many have swollen heads because of the degrees they have won through the study of books. But of what avail is that load when they do not fold their palms to adore God? Humility is the mark of scholarship. If this mark is absent, the scholar is an ignoramus. Humility is the product of Atma Vidya. Of course, the study of the material world is important. It should not be neglected. But, the study of the Atmic core is essential. Other studies relate to the five elements, the energies, the composition of the objective world, the manipulation of Nature’s forces for living more comfortably. How does the earth rotate and why? How far is the sun from the earth and the stars? How far do the rays of the sun reach? To what distance can they travel in a minute? By learning these facts, to what extent can man profit? The more important items to study and watch are: How broad is your heart? How much benefit has society derived from you? What are the Sadhanas that can make you a better and more useful man? How much are you aware of your inner principle? What exactly is the purpose and goal of this human existence?
Bhagavantam has mastered the topics about the external world which I mentioned just now. He has also taught them to many students of his and they in their turn have taught them to many others who were their students. That was all. He knew and he made others know what he knew. Those others knew and they passed on that knowledge to others. Thus, it has spread from one set of people to another. Has this process furthered the peace and progress of the world? It has not helped in the least. As scholarship is accumulated, man is losing the compassion which urges him to love his neighbour, to discover his troubles and anxieties so that he might give relief. He is turning more and more egoistic.
Embodiments of Love! Do not think otherwise. When truth is made known one is apt to resent it. Educated persons today are all afflicted with selfishness. Why! They have been rendered so helpless by this disease that they do not pay attention to the misery of even their parents. This is no sign of education. Education must broaden the heart; it must expand one’s love. Fortitude and equanimity belong to the reality in man. One must reveal this fact in every act. There should be gratitude for kindness shown.
But people forget those who helped them to advance in life; they even repay kindness with injury. The very teachers who contribute to the progress of students in studies are hit severely on the head by their students. The teacher may have faults but the student has no authority to search for faults or expose them or retaliate. Upanishad means sitting at the feet of the teacher. The Guru is the Tat: the Shishya is the Twam. Tat speaks; twam listens. That is the lesson in humility which the Upanishad teaches.
Students strive in many ways to attain high ranks; they do not strive to earn highly estimable virtues; no, not even a thousandth part of that effort is spent for earning virtues. They are eager to collect marks; they do not try to avoid remarks and ensure good reputation. Strive to earn good life, good conduct, good thoughts, good opportunities.
Students! You are all aware that there are now 108 universities in India. This University is the 109th, one more than that traditional total. Lokassamastha Sukhino Bhavantu. May all the universities succeed and serve the country well. But this university must be distinct from the rest and attain a high status. It must be the ideal for others. For this consummation students, teachers, parents, rulers and the people must cooperate in the task.
To have inaugurated a university cannot be a source of full satisfaction. It has to be fostered and made to fructify. It is like accepting the gift of an elephant; it brings with it the responsibility to feed it and utilise its potentialities beneficently. If some deviation occurs while managing it, the elephant might run amok and destroy lives. Students and teachers are the most valuable assets which can render the University an ideal one. Along with subjects related to worldly knowledge, this University will impart instruction in ethical, moral and spiritual codes and Sadhanas. It has as its goal the cultivation of the student’s mind on these lines. Virtues, purity of the mind, adherence to truth, dedication to the Supreme, discipline, devotion to duty—these qualities will be fostered and promoted in this University. Such seats of learning were established in ancient times by the sages and seers of India and as a result of their self-sacrificing efforts, they have left for posterity the priceless heritage of Bharatiya culture. This culture has sprouted from the vision of God in every atom in creation. God resides, it proclaims, not only in the idol installed in the temple, but in every atom and cell, without exception. Bharatiyas have allowed this all-inclusive, sublime, eternal culture to slip out of their lives, in the frantic pursuit of illusory, trivial tantalising cultures.
This is the inaugural day of our Institute. It has been planted today. The students are roots. The tree will grow with branches on all sides; countless flowers will bloom; it will provide and promote peace and security to the world. In order that it may realise this result, students must, as the roots do, remain firm and offer sustenance. I know that the roots have to be watered so that flowers and fruits may emerge. It is my conviction that the students are my all. If you ask me, what is my property, many expect the answer to be, “Oh! All these buildings, all this vast area of land.” But my answer is, “My entire property consists of my students.” I have offered myself to them.
But many are not aware of this fact. Some unfortunate people cannot believe the Reality of this love of a thousand mothers. Those who cannot gauge the depth of a single mother’s affection for her child, how can they ever understand the possibility and the presence of the love of a thousand mothers? “When disaster impends reason is perverted,” says the adage. They ruin themselves by denying the fact of such love. I know that all the thousands of fruits that a tree bears do not ripen into tasty edible ones. Some are stolen; some rot away, some are attacked by pests: only a few ripen and confer Ananda on others. In a running race, all do not win the first place. Many drop out along the track. If at least a few students rise up to the high ideals we have set before us, I am confident that the country can be made prosperous and happy through them.
The chief characteristic of Sathya Sai is, let me tell you, equanimity, forbearance and Sahana. There are many who are engaged in criticism and calumny. Many papers publish all types of writings. Many pamphlets are printed. All kinds of things happen in the world. My reply to all these is just a smile. The reason is such criticisms and distortions are the inevitable accompaniments of everything good and great. Only the fruit laden tree is hit by stones thrown by greedy people. No one casts a stone on the tree that bears no fruit!
There are some others who suffer from sheer envy at the increasing number and phenomenal progress of Sathya Sai Seva Organisations and the Sathya Sai Educational Institutions and they try to invent falsehoods and cause agitation in the tender minds of innocent students.
Embodiments of Love! Not these only, but even if the entire world opposes unitedly, nothing can affect me. My mission is essentially mine. I am engaged in the good. My heart is ever full of benediction. I have no ego. I do not own any thing. This is my Truth. Those who have faith in this, My Truth, will not hesitate to dedicate themselves to it. Those who have faults and defects react with anger and fear. But, the lion with no fault and no defect will not react so. I am aware of this and so I am always in Ananda, Ananda, Ananda.
Many of the devotees from foreign lands wish me “Happy Birthday”! I tell them, “I am always happy. Wish happiness for those who are unhappy.” There is no need to wish that I may have Ananda or happiness. I am happy at all times. When you identify Divinity and Truth, such confusion will not arise in your minds.
Cultivate faith in God and Love towards all beings. And, as always, follow the directives I have been emphasising.